Can an Amazon smartphone rival the iPhone?

Amazon recently announced its development of a smartphone that will be exclusively carried by AT&T. Apple and Samsung currently occupy a great deal of the smartphone market, but can Amazon compete? The smartphone (officially announced today) will distinguish itself with the following features:

  • a screen that uses 4 front-facing cameras to track retinal movement to display 3D images without special glasses
  • 4.7 inch display (slightly larger than current iPhone models)
  • a 12mp rear-facing camera

For those who remember, Apple initially gave AT&T exclusive rights to its iPhone the first 3 years when it launched in 2007. Amazon plans to do the same. The smartphone market is huge--990 million were sold in 2013 and Amazon wants a piece of the pie.

Do you think Amazon have the capabilities to rival Apple and Samsung?

Comments (41)

Jun 17, 2014

Will it be delivered by the Amazon drones, too?

Best Response
Jun 17, 2014

I think so.

I always though Amazon should buy Blackberry and develop a new and improved business phone which enables the encryption and business-friendly layout of Blackberry with integration to Amazon music/video streaming/e-book and it'd be a great "business man" phone.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

    • 2
Jun 18, 2014

Amazon buying BB? interesting...

Jun 17, 2014

What's the benefit of giving one carrier exclusive rights?

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

Jun 17, 2014

I'm not quite sure, but I'd assume that AT&T is giving them some sort of incentive to allow them to have exclusive rights.

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Jun 17, 2014
College Monkey:

I'm not quite sure, but I'd assume that AT&T is giving them some sort of incentive to allow them to have exclusive rights.

I don't know how this shit works, but I assume it'd have to be quite an incentive to compensate for all that opportunity cost.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

Jun 17, 2014

footprint/installed base man - same reason why certain suppliers will move into markets at a negative margin..

Jun 17, 2014

3D images would be super crispy if they actually look good

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

    • 1
Jun 17, 2014

Curious to see how that retinal interface will work, although it seems like it might render the function useless come allergy season with the eye-watering, sneezing, etc. for many people. Also, how is it going to differentiate between a command and you just looking at something other than the phone while using it?

Jun 17, 2014

Also curious to see how it works with sunglasses or prescription glasses...

Jun 18, 2014

With 4 front facing cameras I'm wondering how long the battery will last. I might wait until the 2nd gen of it comes out.

Jun 17, 2014

Good point. I'd imagine the first gen will have some small issues that they will have to tweak out in the future just like apple faced originally

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Jun 18, 2014

Guys what about the new iPhone phablet that's coming out soon? Do you Galaxy Note users think one could carry a 5.5" inch phone easily in diff. clothing/situations?

Jun 18, 2014

yes, AT&T did the same thing with AAPL when the iPhone originally came out, this is great for T & AMZN, but not for consumers.

AMZN is trying to diversify their revenue base, I would be shocked if the geniuses at AAPL & Samsung didn't already have the same technology, but they're trying to perfect it first. will be interesting to see how this all progresses

Jun 18, 2014

This firefly bit, that apparently can identify objects, may have just literally turned all big box stores into show rooms for Amazon (As if they weren't already). Oh, and I'm sure I can one click buy and get it in two days once It's identified it. Awesome yet horrifying.

Jun 18, 2014

Amazon gets promotional support, both in stores and ads from AT&T. Just go to any store or look at print tv/ads and phones each carrier promote 'more'. AT&T also gets a bigger discount from Amazon for buying the phones (less in consumer subsidy). Sprint paid through the nose for iPhone when they finally got it. Amazon also gets to use AT&T's retail footprint which is still very valuable for phone (one reason why Google phones struggled early on). AT&T also prefers thee mfg vs two for pricing competition (same way phone mfg wants 3 OS). Lots of variables.

Jun 18, 2014

I think the phone is a huge disappointment.

Jun 17, 2014

Still not buying AMZN...

Jun 18, 2014

It all makes sense. I remember them recently patenting a 3D scanner for products' recognition.

With this phone, we could scan the shoe of a friend or the nice jacket/ refrigerator / whatever we've spotted in a shop and have it shipped to our house, for cheaper, with just two clicks on the phone.

It seems like a good way to boost their revenue and expand their user base, we could buy anything around us by basically taking a picture of it.

Jun 17, 2014
leolum:

It all makes sense. I remember them recently patenting a 3D scanner for products' recognition.

With this phone, we could scan the shoe of a friend or the nice jacket/ refrigerator / whatever we've spotted in a shop and have it shipped to our house, for cheaper, with just two clicks on the phone.

It seems like a good way to boost their revenue and expand their user base, we could buy anything around us by basically taking a picture of it.

brb bankruptcy. My spending habits are fucking atrocious as is.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

Jun 18, 2014

Rival the iPhone? Samsung and other Androids have made the iPhone 2nd fiddle.

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Jun 18, 2014

Seems like a solid phone with some eye catching features. I just don't think it is enough to get people to leave their current devices, whether that be an iPhone, Samsung, or something else.

Jun 23, 2014
IvyLeagueVet:

Rival the iPhone? Samsung and other Androids have made the iPhone 2nd fiddle.

I guess you don't know the difference between market share and profits. The iPhone is the one making most of the profits, even with their declining market share. Apple only competes at the premium smartphone market. Everything else doesn't matter. Why sell a device at break even, or at a loss? Apple is in the business of making money, not taking market share. I think they are doing very well.

Jun 23, 2014
andres17:
IvyLeagueVet:

Rival the iPhone? Samsung and other Androids have made the iPhone 2nd fiddle.

I guess you don't know the difference between market share and profits. The iPhone is the one making most of the profits, even with their declining market share. Apple only competes at the premium smartphone market. Everything else doesn't matter. Why sell a device at break even, or at a loss? Apple is in the business of making money, not taking market share. I think they are doing very well.

Regarding to the topic, I don't think the Amazon phone has anything to rival the iPhone. Do you really need the features of this phone to make a purchase at Amazon? It is a cool gadget, but other than that, useless. It does saves time, but not a priority when choosing a phone. Other features are way more important. My guess, this will be a flop for Amazon. I don't think Bezos is such a genius. He is trying to convert Amazon into Apple. Probably to justify it's overpriced stock valuation. But I don't think that conversion is possible at this point. I don't think they have the means to do it. They are just an online retailer, trading as if they were a disrupting company with exponential growth, they are not. They are great at their online sales. Their streaming is subpar to Netflix. I had free prime for a while, and used streaming for 1 hour. It was hard to find titles, and the website looked like Netflix 1.0. Netflix is so much better. Amazon needs to take a lesson from Apple: only release a product when it is ready. Half baked solutions don't have a chance competing against the companies that have put all the effort. Netflix >>> Amazon streaming, and iPhone >>> Amazon phone.

Jun 18, 2014

Huh? Reading comprehension is a general requirement for this forum.

And to your point, Apple's profitability and market share have been decreasing. Know what you're talking about before claiming others don't.

Jun 18, 2014

Apple is a religion, Amazon is not.

Matrick:

[in reply to Tony Snark"]

Why aren't you blogging for WSO and become the date doctor for WSO? There seems to be demand.

BatMasterson:

[in reply to Tony Snark's dating tip]

Sensible advice.

Jun 18, 2014

I don't think it will. I don't see the competitive advantage over the Apple/Samsung/Google Nexus (now Android Silver) ranges. Although, I'm not in the US and I hardly ever see anyone with phones other than the above three. Maybe a few HTCs.

Jun 18, 2014

Great innovative features. The scanning thing and the 3D thing. Unfortunately, Bezos is not half as charismatic as Jobs or Cook. Should've gotten someone to coach him on how to do a presentation.

Jun 19, 2014
techie674:

Great innovative features. The scanning thing and the 3D thing. Unfortunately, Bezos is not half as charismatic as Jobs or Cook. Should've gotten someone to coach him on how to do a presentation.

This is why I have to laugh when people try to call him the next SJ...not a chance. He's very bright but they are different people. Bezos used to be a quant trader at DE Shaw....he's got a much different thought process I would imagine.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Jun 19, 2014

The new camera feature and the possibility to "look and buy" are certainly great ideas.
However I do think the device will only be able to take over a small fraction of the market due to the following reasons:
1. The OS is by far not as intuitive in my humble opinion as Apple's OS 7 and Android 4.4. In addition both systems allow users to connect a group of computers, phones and tablets regarding calendars etc. via cloud. Bezos stated that there would be "unlimited space" (not sure if quoted precisely) for photos (only?).
2. Amazon is a quite stale company in comparison to its competitors as mentioned before.
3. If one chooses to use a Fire phone he must accept switching his OS if he wants to synchronize data the old fashioned way therefore.

Jun 17, 2014

As noted above, Amazon's smartphone lacks in the following areas:

1) Interactivity. Apple's iPhone works in conjunction with iTunes, the App Store, your iPod, iPad, Mac, and so on. OS does a great job of integrating all of the apple products into a seamless user experience.

2) OS is on it's 7th version at this point. Apple has continued to refine its product and it will take some time for Amazon to be able to compete.

3) Bezos is not Jobs. Simply put, Steve Jobs was the brains behind the best tech company of the era.

Jun 21, 2014

It doesn't need to rival the iPhone. Newest features coming out for Amazon to link vetted service/installers for different products in your area. You buy the product, get a choice of vetted people and set up a time, all through Amazon.

This company has a veritable monopoly and is expanding.

Jun 21, 2014

The phone itself seems like a nice device with a lot of new technology. If the price is well below Samsung's and Apple's then I think we might be seeing a lot more Amazon's devices.

Jun 22, 2014

It offers 3D functionality; great except you have no definitive list of developers making apps for that and most movie and TV studios seem to have lost interest two years ago.

It has specifications on par with the mid-range Motorola Moto X yet it will cost over $600 off contract (far more expensive). This despite not having the technology in the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One, Nexus 5 or LG G2 have (similar prices).

If it sells it will have to be because the user experience is strong. Unlike the Amazon Kindle this is not a device that will sell on virtue of being inexpensive (it isn't) or having features (it doesn't).

I'd be convinced if they lower the on contract prices by $75.

Jun 17, 2014
Comment
Jun 18, 2014